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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

Magic Binds - Ilona Andrews

Oh my goodness, I missed these characters so much!


Coming back to Kate and Curran's banter was like walking into a familiar and cozy place. I missed Andrea, and Derek. I missed Kate's attitude, and Curran's fury. GAH! I missed it all. 



Puppy Mamma Feels

So Luna is at the vet all day today, because she's being spayed. The rational part of my brain, not driven by hormones, keeps telling me that she's going to be fine. That the vet does this kind of surgery all the time, and she'll be home tonight, and things will work out a-ok. The puppy mamma part of my brain (which is much louder, honestly) keeps worrying to death and wondering if she's scared. *sigh* I didn't get much sleep last night and I'm so distracted at work today that it's ridiculous.


Why brain? WHY?

Time Traveling With A Hamster by Ross Welford

Time Traveling with a Hamster - Ross Welford
Okay, color me impressed! You've heard me praise the wonders of Middle Grade fiction and its wonderful authors many a time, and yet it never fails to stun me how much goodness comes out of the books written for this age group. Ross Welford has penned a gem here. Time Traveling With A Hamster simultaneously pulls together the importance of family, the grey areas we face when making hard decisions, the beauty (and issues) associated with being passionate about something, and even owning up to ones own mistakes. I am so thrilled to have read this, and can't recommend it enough!
Now, let me put out there that there are actually a fair amount of high end concepts in this book. As a reader who believes fully in not talking down to young readers, I was smitten with this. Al Chadhury's father was a brilliant man. One who wasn't afraid to dabble in science and theory, ultimately leading to his discovery of time travel. Through Al's travels in time, and the letters his father left behind, he learns so much about everything his dad was passionate about. There are brilliant descriptions of the theory of relativity, and examples that actually make it palatable for young minds. There's even discussions of memory devices. Suffice it to say, I was blown away by the sheer amount of lessons in here.
Better still, none of those lessons seemed to slow down the overall pace of the story. I admit that it took a few chapters to really get going, as some books do, but once I was immersed that was it. Al's quest to save his dad flew by. His brushes with danger, his quick thinking to get out of hairy situations, his realizations that he might not be as clever as the thought he was, all of it just blurred together into this gorgeous story that wouldn't let me go. The ending is perfection, especially for an MG read, and I couldn't have been happier.
Long story short? This is a must have for reading lists of all ages, but specifically I think this would be a wonderful book to share as a family. There are just so many good ideas caught up in here, I feel like it would be an amazing read to share between parents and their children. Ross Welford has written the type of story that transcends age groups, and that's no easy feat! Add this to your reading list. You won't regret it.


Yesternight by Cat Winters

Yesternight - Cat Winters

The items that drew me towards this book were two-fold. First off, I have a deep fascination with stories that center around children who glimpse things that adults don't. The possibilty that there are things I'm not privy to, hidden in the world I walk through every day, is intriguing. Cat Winters also wrapped the concept of reincarnation into this story, which fully sealed my need to read it. I sincerely hoped for something with gothic tones, and a deep simmering sense of tension.

Which is actually what I was given a fair amount of throughout the first half of this book. Alice's arrival, heralded by a storm of massive proportions, started things out excellently. As she began to navigate the small town of Gordon Bay, and meet the rather interesting inhabitants, I was enraptured. Small towns tend to hold interesting secrets, and when Alice met Janie I felt sure that I was correct in assuming that was coming around the bend. With characters that were generally not at all agreeable, I felt sure there was something hiding beneath it all.

Then, the second half of the book began. Let me just say, I spend the first two chapters of this part flipping back and forth with confusion. It was as if this was a whole new book, although I knew it wasn't because Alice was still present. In fact, Alice is the main focus of this portion of the book and, quite honestly, the reason things started to unravel. Suddenly I was reading a story focused on rage, and an uncomfortable discussion of sexual agression. I missed Janie's story, and wanted to go back to it.

From that point on, things just got weirder and weirder. Alice's story felt cobbled together, and spiraled toward an ending that had me shaking my head in disbelief. I'm definitely not one to turn away from a surprise twist, or unexpected ending. In this case, it felt more misplaced than anything. It's not that I expected a happy ending, not at all! It's more that I couldn't comprehend the reasoning behind the particular ending that Yesternight offered up to me.

I'm on the fence, regarding this book. Yesternight showed me a lot of the parts of Cat Winters' writing that I love, but it just didn't live up to what I hoped for. I think if the second half of the story had felt as polished as the first portion, I would have been head over heels in love. Winters has made me crave more about Janie, and her past lives. That, in itself, is impressive! So I'll offer up three stars for this book, and a warning that the ending might not be quite what you expect it to be.

The Bone Tree (Penn Cage #5) by Greg Iles

The Bone Tree - Greg Iles

I finished Natchez Burning with sense of excitement over what was to come. Iles ended that book on a high note, with the kind of climax that leaves you breathless. I couldn't wait to see what Penn would find himself involved in once I started The Bone Tree. I admit that I've found a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Penn Cage and his little family. They have so much passion for doing the right thing, even when it's dangerous, that it's intoxicating.

So, it was a little disappointing that I didn't love this book as much as the first. I didn't feel that same sense of urgency, where I had to read at a rapid pace to keep up with the action. Where I praised the first book for avoiding the dreaded info dump, The Bone Tree didn't seem to take that same road. While the premise here is fascinating, tying all the way back into the JFK assassination, the only way to keep that story line going is to throw down a ton of historical knowledge. There are dense portions of explanation into histories of past characters, and how they tie into the ones we are dealing with today. It does slow things down.

Now, on a happy note, there's definitely the same amount of attention to detail that there was in the first book. Newly introduced characters are rich, and have deep history surrounding them. Which comes in handy, especially the further that things delve into the past. Natchez, as well as its surrounding cities, gets the same kind of love that it did before. The setting here has its own kind of special magic, managing to set it apart from the rest of the world in a way. It's like a place set back in time, and it makes for an excellent jumping off point into Penn's newest adventure.

The action here is just as fast paced as before, putting Penn and his family in the face of danger at every turn. I swear, I've never simultaneously wanted to cheer on and punch a character as often as I have during these books. There are some decisions made that, had I been able to, I would have smacked some of these characters for. The only downside to this particular book is that some of the action feels forced. Like it was put there simply to pick up the pace after a long dialogue or back story portion. The Bone Tree flowed, but just not as beautifully as its predecessor.

So, it comes down to the fact that I think The Bone Tree suffers from "middle book syndrome". It's the mid point in this particular story arc, and there's a lot packed into it because of that. It just unfortunately doesn't read as smoothly as the first in the series. The good news is that there's enough here, and the ending is solid enough, that it doesn't keep me from wanting to move on with the series. I'm still really excited to see what happens next.

DNF @ 25%

Ghost Omnibus, Vol. 1 - Eric Luke, Adam Hughes, Terry Dodson

Ugh. I just can't with this.


The only reason I picked this up in the first place, was because it was free to read on Comixology Unlimited. I'm trying to expand outside of my comfortable zone, and the artwork on the first few pages was tempting enough to make me want to give this a chance.


But... argh. THE DIALOGUE. It's stilted. I think that Ghost's character is supposed to be some type of ultimate feminist, since it's clear from the beginning that essentially loathes all of mankind. Men are terrible. Men are selfish. Men are evil. Blah, blah, blah. This is what feminism looks like through the eyes of a male writer, I guess. It's tedious. Everything is buried under this revenge fantasy and, somehow despite the premise, Ghost is just a weak character. Weak, weak, weak.


I have been told that Kelly Sue DeConnick did a reboot of this recently, so I'm going to give that a shot instead. If a feminist perspective, and a discussion of the treatment of women, were the purposes of this series, DeConnick should actually do it some justice.

Spooky Swap 2016!


The set up post, and sign up link, are live for the first annual BookLikes Spooky Swap! Come join us if you love getting and giving boxes of goodies!


You know you want to.

Reblogged from Jessica (HDB)


Luna says "Sticks are the best, but mom won't let me chew them."



Sorry I wasn't around all last week guys, or this weekend really. I had to unplug a bit, and just kind of laze around. It's been my defense mechanism when it comes to anxiety, and it helps a lot! The only exception during that time is Instagram, because I can't resist sharing pictures of Luna. She's just too darn adorable.


I did do a lot of reading! I finally made it through the last portion of Natchez Burning which, at 800+ pages, is the longest book I've read so far this year. So I was pretty happy. I'm behind on my Halloween bingo, of course, but I knew that would happen and I'll catch up somehow.


So anyway, just saying hi! I'm alive, and back to feeling normal. So I'll be back around on social media. *hugs and love*

Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2) by Kat Ross

Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element) (Volume 2) - Kat Ross
I actually had the luck to read both Blood of the Prophet, and it's predecessor, back to back. So I can honestly tell you that this book is a stellar follow up to the first in the series. It's not often that a second book captures my attention more than the original, but in this case that was absolutely true. Nazafareen and Darius completely stole my heart in this book, and the ending just left me breathless for more.
See, my biggest issue with the first book was that it moved along so quickly that there wasn't a lot of time for character development. There was so much that needed to be set up, so many puzzle pieces to lay, that I felt like Nazafareen and Darius just didn't get enough time to flourish. In Blood of the Prophet that was easily remedied. These two felt like real people to me this time around, which made this book all the more exciting to read. I could see the link between them, and not the man made one, grow and strengthen. I also saw huge growth on an individual level in each of them too. It was wonderful to see them finally become the characters that I knew they should be, and even more fun to watch their adorably awkward banter with one another. Ah, budding love.
Points also go to this second book because Kat Ross didn't feel the need to rehash all of the things that she had already laid in place. The pacing here, therefore, is much better. Action meshes beautifully with story line, and it makes for a read that is engrossing without feeling too rushed. Best of all, there's a lot more of the history of the Druj uncovered here. In fact, the amount of curve balls that Ross dropped throughout this book had me on edge. If Nazafareen felt blindsided, I was right there with her. Bravo.
There is a lot dealt with in this book, but the main point always winds its way back around to the idea of good vs. evil. Whether that's an inherent trait, or something that is fostered through ages of deceit. I loved how many realistic issues Ross was able to bring into this story. From prostitution, to slavery, back around to misogyny. Wrapped up in Fantasy or not, these are still shown as very real questions of morality, and it's intriguing to watch the characters deal with these things in their own ways.
So, final verdict? This is an absolutely stunning second book and, truth be told, I enjoyed it much more than the first in the series. Blood of Prophet definitely deserves your time and, therefore, so does the entire Fourth Element series so far!


The Memory Thief by Bryce Moore

The Memory Thief - Bryce Moore

Well now, this was fun! I'll spare you my standard spiel on how important I think MG fiction is, and just tell you straight out that this book is going to appeal to a lot of young readers. It's intriguing, fast-paced, and actually rings true to real life despite its premise. What if you could share other people's life experiences? Would you take that opportunity? What if you could actually take memories away from people? Is that okay, if they won't remember and it might improve their lives? So we come to the complicated web of morality that Benji must face, all while still being a kid.

It should be known that I have a soft spot for male protagonists in MG fiction, because I truly think we need more of them. Benji is the perfect example of an impressively drawn main character. At the heart of it all, he's simply a young boy who is motivated by his desire for his family to be happy again. Which means, of course, that he doesn't quite stop to think of what the consequences of his choices might be. After all, it's for good reason. Right? Then Genevieve comes into the picture and shows Benji that the power he hoped to use for good, can also be used for nefarious purposes. There's so much wrapped up in here. The importance of family, the concept of honor, dealing with deception, and even a healthy does of conflict resolution. Definitely a lot for a young reader to soak up, and yet it's all tied up in a perfectly action-packed story line.

Honestly, that's all I can really say without accidentally spoiling anything. This is a quick read, that's really enjoyable to get lost in. In my opinion, it's just about perfect! I have no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of young readers out there who are going to have a blast devouring this. Rest assured though, that The Memory Thief is one of those books that easily transcends age groups. If you, like me, love reading MG? This book definitely deserves a spot on your reading list.


Natchez Burning (Penn Cage #4) by Greg Iles

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles

As you might have noticed, this is actually the fourth book in a series. Natchez Burning is, however, the beginning of a brand new story arc that readers can start at. I came into this story knowing nothing about Penn Cage and his family. What I left with? Well, I can absolutely attest to the fact that Greg Iles has mastered the art of the tie in. With no information dumps, and virtually no flashbacks, I quickly came up to speed with Penn, his family, and Natchez as a whole. It felt like home after only a few chapters, and the story that was spun for me has me extremely eager to see what comes next.

I admit that Natchez Burning had me a little wary at the beginning. This book is a tome. At 816 pages in paperback, it's definitely not a light read. Somehow though, Iles manages to use up every bit of that page count without a second of down time. Every sentence is perfectly placed. Each moment, each event, expertly situated to make this book read at a breakneck pace throughout the entire story. Suffice it to say, I was highly impressed. I was worried that this book would be a chore. Afraid that I might have to read through pages of police procedures and information dumps. That wasn't so, I'm happy to report. While this definitely took me time to finish, it was worth every page.

Penn Cage is one of those characters that you can't help but root for. His heart is huge, his motives pure, and he's willing to throw himself into any kind of terrible situation that comes his way if it means protecting his family and his town. It's tough not to fall for him. I figured out very quickly that Iles knew this, because he threw Penn into the fire and dragged him through hell and back. I found myself gripping the pages, white knuckled, as Penn and those he cared about were put into yet another terrifying encounter. This book has it all. Murders, drug deals, mafia bosses, and the types of "bad guys" who make your skin crawl because they're so wholly evil. Which, in truth, is true of every personality that Iles pens into this book. Each character is treated lovingly, and fully developed. Which means the reader is allowed to love, and to hate, as the case calls for. These are real people, and it makes the story all the more compulsively readable.

If I had one small gripe it would be that, ironically, the ending felt a little rushed. I know that it seems ridiculous coming from a person who as worried about reading 800+ pages originally. Truth be told though, the climax was built up so well that I couldn't wait to see what happened. Which is probably why the ending felt a little quick, and the cliffhanger at the end left me breathless. Luckily, I know that there are more books in this series. So I'll have my hands on the next one very soon. This series is well worth your time! Don't be afraid to start with Natchez Burning.

Star Destroyer made out of masking tape!

Maybe I'm the only one that thinks this is cool? But. Wow. That's a pretty awesome use of masking tape.

Laura Silverman

I don't often post the random drama that happens on Twitter or the Interwebs in general, but this is really messed up. Laura Silverman, the author of the upcoming Girl Out Of Water, is being targeted by trolls for making a Twitter comment about Jimmy Fallon and Trump.


Now, we all know that's normal. Twitter can be an awful place. Except she's now being targeted on Goodreads, where her debut book is being knocked down with 1-star reviews by those same obnoxious trolls. Plus they're posting 1-star reviews on any other author's books who stick up for her.


Here's Laura's Twitter:



Here's her book on GR:



Here's her pre-order link on Amazon:




Look, I hate bullies. Internet bullies most of all, because they're the most cowardly. So I'll happily stick up for, and support, any author targeted by them. Heaven forbid someone disagrees with you on the Internet. *sigh*



A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

A Mortal Song - Megan Crewe

So, let's start with the good about this book. First off, it's set in Japan and has a rich tie to Japanese lore, which I loved. I've always found Shinto to be fascinating, with its deep reverence of the Kami, who keep our world whole and healthy. It's hard not to fall in love with the concept of nature based spirits, and their ability to interact with our human world. I was really impressed that Megan Crewe decided to base A Mortal Song in this faith, and thrilled that ki flowed through these pages.

Sora and Midori are also a very strong aspect of this story. Although Sora has other relationships that make their way onto the page, Midori is her link to the world of the Kami. Their bond is one that goes beyond physical contact, or even the deepest emotions. I loved how linked they were and, most of all, how appreciative Sora was of everything she had been granted. It's wonderful to see a character who actually understands everything they have to lose.
Which brings me to the things I had a tougher time with, mainly Chiyo. I have to give credit where credit is due. It was pleasantly surprising to find out that, although Sora begins this story, she wasn't actually the "chosen one". Seeing what it's like to be the one on the outside, the one who wasn't considered to be "special" was a nice change. The downside to this, is that the book didn't give much attention to Chiyo's overall character development. She felt flat to me, and a little bit flippant regarding her newfound destiny. It drove me a little batty, to be honest. I felt sorry for poor Sora, more than anything.
In fact, had this story simply focused more on Sora and the Kami I would have been smitten. The fact that Sora had to deal with her basic humaness was a great story line. I wanted more of that. More introspection, more newly found inner strength, and more of her growth. As it stands, a vast majority of this book is nothing but battle scenes. It makes the second half of the book very stagnant, since it feels like nothing but battles are happening, over and over. If this were an anime, it would be perfect! In this case I wanted more flowery writing and character growth. Oh, and less instalove please.
As you can see, this book falls right on the fence for me. Thus, the three star rating. There's a lot to love in A Mortal Song. Its premise is rich, and actually pretty well explored here. I just wanted more, so I'm hoping that I'll get what I was missing in the next book.

Spooky Swap 2016!


The set up post, and sign up link, are live for the first annual BookLikes Spooky Swap! Come join us if you love getting and giving boxes of goodies!


You know you want to.

Bookish Box Swaps!

For anyone who is potentially interested in participating in a Halloween box swap, I finally had a chance to make the group!


When I get home, I'll post the actual details for the Halloween swap :).